Northeastern Section–41st Annual Meeting (20–22 March 2006)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


BANNON, Katrina, FAIRCHILD, William and REVETTA, Frank A., Geology Department, State University of New York College at Potsdam, 44 Pierrepont Avenue, Potsdam, NY 13676,

Field Geophysics or Environmental Geophysics consisting of geophysical methods of exploration to study the shallow subsurface geology is an effective way to engage students in hands-on field investigations that serve as meaningful educational experiences for undergraduate students. In this poster we present case studies of how undergraduates conduct geophysical surveys on environmental, hydrologic and engineering problems. The course is taught during the summer and fall semesters and reaches out to a wide audience including science and non-science undergraduates. The course meets one hour a week to discuss the investigation and three hours for field work. The course uses an hands-on-approach in which students use the seismic refraction and reflection, electrical resistivity, magnetic, and gravity methods to acquire the appropriate data required for the investigations.

The course requires the students to determine the best method or methods to solve a particular problem. Students must then acquire the data, analyze it by computer techniques and interpret the data. These activities develop creative and critical thinking and computer skills. The investigations conducted are determined from the need of local residents or the community. This past summer and fall, field work was conducted to determine subsurface geology for local residents to determine depth to bedrock and groundwater. Other projects included determination of subsurface geology at a new dormitory site and the location of buried metallic drums. These activities are received well because they promote relevance and students are willing to engage themselves in solving them. Some students even use the methods to investigate a problem of interest to them outside of class.